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Why we regulate
Learn what types of wastewater discharges are regulated and how.
Plan review
The DNR reviews plans for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant construction.
Discharge permits
Wastewater discharges to surface or groundwaters.
clear lake

Firefly Lake, Vilas County

Statewide phosphorus multi-discharger variance

The multi-discharger variance (MDV) for phosphorus extends the timeline for complying with low-level phosphorus limits. In exchange, point sources commit to step-wise reductions of phosphorus within their effluent as well as helping to address nonpoint sources of phosphorus from farm fields, cities or natural areas to implement projects designed to improve water quality. The MDV is similar to an individual variance. However, multiple point sources can be covered under the MDV, whereas an individual variance only applies to a single facility. This provides for administrative streamlining and maximizes the potential benefits watershed projects may have through the variance program. The MDV factsheet [PDF] provides general information regarding this program. MDV Implementation Guidance [PDF] provides details about eligibility and implementation requirements for this program.

Webinar recording

Learn about the eligibility and process to achieve successful approval of a multi-discharge phosphorus variance.

Wisconsin’s phosphorus MDV was approved by EPA on February 6, 2017. The following documents were provided to EPA to justify and provide the implementation strategy for the MDV.

Contact information
If you have questions or feedback about phosphorus implementation or the MDV, contact your regional or statewide MDV coordinator [PDF]
Last revised: Wednesday December 11 2019